By Lily Belcher
Following the recent tragedy in Apollo Beach that took three lives, Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy and her nonprofit organization, Operation Lotus, are working to raise money for the family of father and husband Janosh Purackal and 3-year-old son Daniel Purackal.
Janosh and Daniel were swimming in Apollo Beach before they were swept away by a rip current. Friends believe that Janosh was trying to save his son that night.
“I’ve never seen him without his son. If the son is around, he’s on the shoulder or just having an eye on his son,” said the Purackals’ friend, Sindhu Nadarajan. “He was a very, very responsible father and a very loving husband.”
Following their death, the executive director of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, Melanie Davis, reached out to Operation Lotus, a nonprofit organization that helps families through traumatic, life-changing events.
“As a widow myself, I cannot even imagine the pain the wife/mother feels,” said Brockmeier-Jordy, founder and owner of Operation Lotus. “When I started Operation Lotus, it was my vow to help as many families as I could. When I heard about this story, my heart broke and I hoped for a way to help this family.”
Brockmeier-Jordy asks that donations be made to Operation Lotus through PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org), Venmo (@operationlotus) or checks (P.O. Box 3056, Riverview, FL 33569). Donations should be flagged as ‘Apollo Beach Family’ to ensure the funds go directly to the family.
“When I spoke with the family, I assured them that we would help however we could and 100 percent of money raised would go directly to them,” said Brockmeier-Jordy. “The wife/mother is having the expenses of two funerals and has lost the main income now for her family. They need some financial help to get through this devastating time.”
In addition to Operation Lotus’ fundraiser for the family of the father and son, there is also a GoFundMe for the Apollo Beach hero Kristoff Murray, who died trying to save the Purackals.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) urges beachgoers to be careful and cognizant of rip currents, especially on beaches without lifeguards. Rip currents occur in any weather, not just bad, and are often stronger during low tide. Before going into the ocean, stand on the beach and look for flat spots in the line of breaking waves—these are rip currents. If caught in a rip current, swimmers should swim parallel to the shore until the rip current subsides.